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Pharrell Williams's "Happy" as a Spenserian Sonnet

Back in 2014, there was a Twitter account, or maybe a Tumblr account, that published pop songs as sonnets1. I loved the spin on genre, but I noticed that they were all Petrarchan (Italian) sonnets, which go ABBA ABBA CDE CDE, or Shakespearean (English) sonnets, which go ABAB CDCD EFEF GG.

I complained on Twitter that we needed Spenserian ones, which have a harder rhyme scheme: ABAB BCBC CDCD EE. But you shouldn’t complain without offering a solution, so I give you my offering:

Tho' oft my speech ere uttering seem mad,
Fair Helios signals end of labor’s reign
O’er you and I, who, lightened, upward gad—
Ascend beyond the heav’ns' celestial plane
Lo, trumpets sound our doom, and promise pain:
Your harbinger I welcome, arms ope’d wide
For I, clothèd in joy, will be not slain
Let not your countenance be hurt, nor pride
Know I, and I alone, yield to no tide
No force of earth, nor beast, nor god could quell
The rise and rise unstoppable inside
Of happiness whose bounds no man can tell
—Now strike! your hands together, join the din
A roofless room, a bonafide boon, within.

  1. Apparently they published the collection in a book↩︎

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